Venice Architecture Biennale

Opening of Weak Monument (2018), photo: Tõnu Tunnel

Curatorial Competition 2023

Estonian Centre for Architecture (ECA) has launched an international competition to find the best idea and curator for the Estonian exposition at the XVIII Venice Architecture Biennale in 2023. The biennale will be curated by Lesley Lokko, the main theme is yet to be announced.

The aim of the competition is to find the best concept that will raise the visibility of our architects and their work in the world. The competition is open for concept proposals by art theorists, architects, designers, interior architects, artists and curators of other professions related to the field of architecture. In addition to local architects also international curators and professionals – both theoreticians and practising architects – are invited to participate in the competition.

The deadline for the first phase of the two-stage competition is May 3rd at 23.59 (GMT+2). In the second round, the jury will select up to five candidates or teams, who will have the opportunity to develop their ideas further. The public presentation of shortlisted proposals will take place in Tallinn in the first half of June. The winner will be announced in June 2022.

First-round entries must include the idea and design concept for the Estonian exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale and a description of the project team. In the second round, the description of the exhibition must be further developed according to the comments and questions raised by the jury, and submitted together with illustrated images of the exhibition space, principles for the production of a catalogue and other information materials, and a detailed budget. For each work submitted in the second phase, ECA will award a prize of €1000.

The competition entries will be judged by a jury consisting of Estonian Exhibition Commissioner and Director of the ECA Raul Järg, architect Raul Kalvo, co-curator of the 2021 Estonian Exhibition Jiri Tintera, adviser of architecture and design at the Estonian Ministry of Culture Veronika Valk-Siska, Director of the Estonian Architecture Museum Triin Ojari, art historian and curator Maria Arusoo and architectural researcher Andres Kurg.

Find the competition brief here.


Questions and further information:
Raul Järg
Commissioner for the Estonian Exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale

La Biennale di Venezia International Architecture Exhibition is one of the world’s most important architecture events, visited by over 100.000 people during the months it is open for public. Taking part in the Biennale provides Estonia and our architects with an unique opportunity to introduce our architectural thinking and current topics relevant in Estonia on an international level. La Biennale addresses the academic and theoretical side of architecture, while also providing a meeting place for the industry’s most renowned architects and designers, a place where people come to present the most exciting developments in each country’s architectural thinking.

Mostra di Architettura di Venezia, the Architecture section of the Venice Biennale, was established in 1980. Earlier, architecture exhibitions used to take place under the umbrella of the contemporary art biennale. Estonian architects have participated in the Biennale since 2000, the exhibitions have been produced by both the Union of Estonian Architects and Estonian Centre of Architecture, with support from Estonian Ministry of Culture as well as Estonian Cultural Endowment.

La Biennale di Venezia architecture programme consists of a number of showcases, exhibitions and events, with the main exhibition curated by the head curator of the biennale at the helm. Themed exhibitions as well as national pavilions add diversity to the programme.

Previous Estonian exposition at the International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia

2021 – “Square! Positively shrinking”

The Estonian Centre of Architecture presented the exhibition “Square! Positively shrinking” in the Pavilion of Estonia at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (May 23th – November 29th, 2020), curated by architect and scholar Hashim Sarkis.

Estonian Pavilion curators are Jiri Tintera, Kalle Vellevoog, Garri Raagmaa, Martin Pedanik ja Paulina Pähn.

The exhibition “Square! positively shrinking” explores the role of high-quality urban space in enhancing the future development perspective of depopulating small towns. It features activities to improve the urban environment with a focus on the redevelopment of central squares. Shrinking municipalities need to concentrate on their residents’ quality of life. The programme “Great Public Spaces” is a remarkable example of urban space intervention in shrinking urban areas. The aim of the programme was to renew the centres, main squares and the main streets in 15 Estonian towns by 2020 as a gift from architects to the Estonian state celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Read more:

2018 – “Weak Monument”

The Estonian Centre of Architecture presented the exhibition “Weak Monument” in the Pavilion of Estonia at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (May 26th – November 25th, 2018), entitled Freespace, and curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara.

Estonian Pavilion curators, Laura Linsi, Roland Reemaa and Tadeáš Říha, explored the spectrum between the explicit representation of the monument and the implicit politics of everyday architectures: from the triumphal column to the pavement beneath it, through all that is inbetween.

The title itself – Weak Monument – is an oxymoron, a rhetorical device that offers fresh perspectives on how to recognize politics in any built form.

“Where does the monument stop and the pavement begin? Sometimes maintenance or neglect may overstep the boundary. Sometimes the difference is diminished by a protest, sometimes by a demolition. Sometimes it is the history, the location or the material that blurs the exceptional and the everyday. In those moments that we present, something new occurs, not precisely aligned to how the monument is traditionally understood”, says curator Tadeáš Říha.

Opening of "Weak Monument".Photo by Tõnu Tunnel